CD-Sugar cubes in spoon

Things to Know About Sugar Withdrawal

Some people decide to cut sugar out of their diets to improve their overall health. However, they may experience temporary but unpleasant symptoms of sugar detox.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, less than ten percent of a person’s daily calorie intake should come from added sugars. However, Americans consumed an average of 13% of their daily calorie intake from added sugars from 2005 to 2010. This means Americans are consuming more sugar than they should. Too much sugar consumption can cause adverse health effects like weight gain, increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, fatigue, and cavities, to name a few.

Cutting sugars out of your diet is one step toward wellness. If you plan to take this step, here are some things you should know about sugar withdrawal.

Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms 

Reducing sugar intake can cause various physical and mental symptoms that vary in severity and nature. Sugar withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Changing sleep patterns

  • Anxiety

  • Difficulty in concentrating

  • Depression

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Cravings for sweets, pasta, or chips

  • Nausea

  • Irritability

These symptoms may be uncomfortable and lead to binge eating, which may make people feel depressed and angry. Unfortunately, one way most people cope is through more sugar consumption, triggering the release of endorphins. These are chemicals in our brains that make us feel better. However, the satisfaction and good vibes they bring don’t last, which will begin the cycle again.

How Long Does Sugar Withdrawal Last? 

Some people experience sugar withdrawal symptoms for a few days or weeks, depending on how much sugar is in their diets.

Your body will adapt to a low-sugar diet over time. The less sugar you consume, the less severe your withdrawal symptoms become.

You may also feel worse during certain times of the day, and you may feel your symptoms worsening the more stressed you are.

Stages of Sugar Withdrawal 

People may experience different sugar withdrawal stages.

1. Feeling Great 

The first stage in the sugar withdrawal timeline is like the honeymoon phase. Most people feel their best and proud of themselves because they decided to cut sugar out of their diets. They feel healthier with every bite and sip of unsweetened food and drink they consume.

2. Missing Sugar 

Over time, a person will start to miss sugar. They realize how large of an undertaking they have ahead of them, and the initial glow begins to fade. You feel some disappointment knowing the water you’re about to drink won’t bring the same satisfaction as the can of cold soda in your fridge.

3. Cravings Begin 

Sugar deprivation soon takes up some space in your mind, and you soon feel a strong urge to eat something sugary. Make sure your willpower is strong enough to resist your cravings.

4. Sugar Hangover 

The continued lack of sugar soon causes headaches and muscle pain that may make you think if giving up sugar is worth the pain you’re feeling.

5. Trembling 

Your body may tremble uncontrollably at one point; your muscles may feel unhappy with the lack of sugar and shake at strange times. However, know you’re very close to the last stage of sugar withdrawal.

6. Freedom 

The last stage of withdrawal is freedom. You feel better and pain-free, with all the energy you need for the day. And the best thing is you don’t feel the need to consume sugar.

Sugar Withdrawal and Oral Health 

Getting rid of sugar is always an excellent idea. Aside from positively affecting your overall health, getting rid of sugar from your diet also makes your teeth healthier.

Some of the effects of cutting sugar intake on oral health include:

Less Tooth Decay 

Bacteria will always be present in our mouth, and the sugar we consume feeds them and results in acidic waste products that damage our teeth.

The amount of sugar we consume doesn’t matter, but how fast we’re consuming it. The longer we expose our teeth to sugar, the more time the bacteria in your mouth have to consume it and produce acids that damage your teeth.

Less Tooth Discoloration 

Less sugar in your mouth means fewer cavities that can darken your teeth, which isn’t the same as stains from tea or coffee.

Better Smelling Breath 

The bacteria causing your bad breath also consume the sugar you eat. Reducing or cutting sugar from your diet will starve them and prevent them from producing the chemicals that make your breath smelly.

Healthier Mouth 

All simple sugars can impact your oral hygiene. Reducing sugar intake makes your teeth less vulnerable to bacteria and makes your whole mouth healthier. However, sugar is sugar, regardless of its source, so always watch what you consume.

How To Cope with Sugar Withdrawal  

The symptoms of sugar withdrawal may become uncomfortable, but you can take steps to manage them. Some of them may include:

Get enough sleep. 

Having enough sleep ensures you have plenty of energy for the day and makes you less likely to consume sugary foods and drinks.

Eat balanced meals. 

Eating meals with balanced amounts of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats helps you feel fuller, regulates blood sugar levels, and reduces cravings.

Set practical and specific goals. 

Looking for gradual ways to reduce sugar intake is a practical and realistic goal. You may swap sugary snacks out for snacks rich in fiber, fats, and proteins. You may also try to stop consuming sugary drinks and only drink water or other low-sugar beverages.

Increase your physical activity. 

Regular exercise is an excellent way to cut down on sugar. Research shows that even short bursts of activity can reduce sugar cravings.

Increase daily fiber intake. 

Fiber can make you feel fuller and less hungry for long periods. High fiber foods also help control blood sugar levels, reducing the likelihood of cravings and blood sugar fluctuations.

Key Takeaway 

Sugar-free diets may cause uncomfortable side effects that may disappear within a few weeks. People may also go through different stages of withdrawal.

Planning and good management can help people successfully cut sugar out of their diets. Some ways people can stay on track include eating proteins and fibers, getting enough sleep, and increasing physical activity.

Keep your teeth in excellent health with Century Dental 

Our dentist near Treasure Island, FL, can provide you with general dental services that will keep your teeth’s health on track. They can also help you with any concerns you may have about sugar detox and oral health. Call us and start your path to healthy living today.

Dr. Abdullah M. Allawnha

Dr. Abdullah M. Allawnha

Dr. Allawnha, born in New Orleans and raised in Windsor, Canada, earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Windsor. He worked as an ER nurse in Detroit, Michigan, before moving to Morgantown, West Virginia, to become a dentist. He completed his Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from West Virginia University School of Dentistry while still working as a nurse until he graduated.

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